Day 32: Mango Lassi Smoothie

10616228_801042979917788_3510471899053918090_nYou’d think that with an entire month of un-made recipes, I would have chosen something truly amazing to make on the first day of the month. The day, however, proved to be very busy, and I had a house full of 14 year-olds—so cooking something exotic or complicated was pretty much out of the question. Instead, I settled on making “Mango Lassi Smoothies.”

The recipe called for fresh mango, but because I didn’t have time to prep the recipe the night before, I bought frozen mango instead. I’d recommend doing the same thing—if you’ve ever tried to cutting a mango is not an easy job. So, with the frozen mango already prepared, all I had to do was throw all of the ingredients in the blender. The only thing I was missing, however, was the cardamom. I thought I had some in my spice cabinet, but it turned out to be coriander—so my smoothies had to go without as I was not about to leave a house full of kids unattended as I ran to the store.

I was the first to try the smoothie. I liked it, although it wasn’t very sweet and it had a slightly odd—can’t put my finger on it—flavor. Because I needed a second opinion, I decided to see if I had any volunteer taste-testers in the house. Fortunately for me, three boys volunteered to try it. One definitely thought it was weird, one thought it was okay, but the last said it was good. It wasn’t until the next morning, however, that I got the final verdict. I woke up to find the entire pitcher empty in the sink—it turned out that my daughter really loved it and finished up the whole thing.

Would I make it again? If my daughter asked for it for breakfast, I would most definitely make it. Would I crave it? Not really, but I would use the basis of the ingredients to make a different flavor smoothie, like strawberry.

Day 24: Honeydew Lemonade

10628357_797287496960003_1803865886187709718_nThis is officially the last lemonade I will make from the August section of Cooking Light 2014, as I have no interest in tying or even making Cilantro-Lime-Jalapeno Lemonade—I’m not that adventurous. But Honeydew Lemonade? Now that sounded both delicious and easy to make—the perfect thing for a busy Sunday night!

Unlike the other lemonades I have made this month, this one called for me to make a simple syrup in the microwave, and then use the blender to mix all of the ingredients. And, because I used pre-cut honeydew melon, the most time-consuming part of this recipe was pouring the blended ingredients through a sieve—which took about 3 minutes. I loved that this recipe was both quick and simple to make, and amazingly refreshing. The verdict? This one is definitely a keeper.


Day 21: Strawberry & Rhubarb Lemonade

To round out the busy week, I chose to make the one more lemonade recipe from the month of August. I know, another lemonade, but this one at least had one thing going for it that the others didn’t: rhubarb. Yes, rhubarb. I’ve never cooked anything with rhubarb. In fact, I’ve never even touched rhubarb, and the only reason I know what it even looks like was that I once saw it for sale at a local farm. So, when I decided early in the day to make this lemonade (mostly because I knew how busy the day was going to be), I went to the farm to buy it (for anyone local—Depiero’s).

10509544_795978823757537_6242294415496528375_nThe lemonade preparation was a bit different than the others. In this one, I had to cut up the strawberries and the rhubarb, boil them in a water and sugar mixture, and then simmer for 5 minutes. My only uncertainty came when the recipe didn’t say how small to cut the rhubarb, as it actually called for “frozen rhubarb” (which would probably have been more difficult to find than the fresh), and the frozen would already have been cut. So, I threw caution to the wind and cut it into 1 inches pieces. I was actually surprised by how similar rhubarb looked to celery, although it smelled nothing like it.

As the fruit mixture cooked, I was pleasantly surprised by the aroma coming from the pot—it was sweet and tangy, almost like candy. Once the mixture had finished cooking, I pressed it through a sieve into the pitcher containing 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, and placed it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to cool. Which it didn’t, so I served it over ice. Personally, I liked this lemonade, but my children did not. My daughter, in fact, thought it tasted like medicine, and actually gagged a little while drinking it—an over-exaggeration if you ask me.

The verdict? I won’t be making this lemonade again, but I definitely will make something else with rhubarb. Let’s hope that there’s another recipe in the next 344 days of Cooking Light.

Day 9

I seem to be running a day behind this weekend. In my defense, I had both my mother and sister (+ my sweet nephew) visiting, so cooking food took a backseat to enjoying the company of family. Not to worry, though, I still “cooked” on Day 9—thank goodness for yet another lemonade recipe! Once again, though, it contained alcohol and my children were unable to provide their reactions to the taste.

IMG_0228.JPGThe one I opted to make was a no-brainer—”Blackberry-Vanilla Vodka Lemonade.” Sounds wonderful, right? The recipe was probably the simplest of all of them to make, but I still needed to pick up two of the ingredients at A&P. The blackberries were simple enough (and they were on sale), but the vanilla bean was a little problematic. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find it, it was that it cost so damn much. $10.79 for ONE vanilla bean! So, as much as I wanted to stay true to the recipe, I decided to use a 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract in it’s place.

10556519_790769284278491_6657966773114022418_nOnce the blackberries and sugar were pureed, and then pushed through the sieve (or large spoon that keeps coming in handy), you then added the mixture to the 1/2 cup lemon juice. I had to re-read the recipe a few times, as I kept wondering when I was supposed to add the water. As it turns out, this recipe only called for vodka as the liquid, making it a rather thick (and sweet), albeit tasty, beverage. Both my mother and sister agreed that the thickness made it just slightly less appealing, so I added a splash of club soda to the drink, along with a wedge of lime. The outcome was, in my opinion, a perfect drink! It was both sweet and tangy, and the rich undertones of the vanilla gave it a dessert-like taste. My only complaint was that I didn’t think to double the recipe!